In 2002 Alister Hodgson-Jones bought the Pussy Willow from Kester Shave and had the boat brought from its construction base to Northamptonshire, to be initially stored in a compound near Thrapston.
The ensuing weeks saw the engine removed into the riverside workshop, fettled and tested with compressed air. Under these conditions, out of the boat, the engine ran satisfactorily. The boiler was the next to receive attention. Despite never having been fired up since being removed from the Glenrosa, the tubes were not in the best of condition and, although probably serviceable, were replaced in the Islip workshop. In addition, the crankshaft supplied with the boat was defective and a new one was machined from a large steel billet.
To round off the story to date, some internal refurbishment took place but then, with business and family commitments creating increasing demands on the owner, tools were laid down and for more years than the owner likes to admit, the boat has remained forlorn and partially restored – AGAIN.
Now, forward to Thursday 24th October 2013, Chilford Hall Vineyard and a chance meeting over a nice lunch and a glass of the local vino …. and a mutual interest in steam. Owner Alister Hodgson-Jones sees potential in new retiree, Philip Lawton, to kick start the project back into life. A second meeting, again over a nice lunch but in a restaurant closer to home, the new found friends lay the foundation to bring Pussy Willow to life.
You can follow their progress on their blog: http://steamlaunchpw.wordpress.com